National Geographic : 1940 Jun
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE Photograph by John Ldwin Hogg GOING HOME THE HARD WAY-CANYON DE CHELLY By finger-and-toe holds, Navajos climbed to their cliff dwellings. Describing the Indians in near-by Canyon del Muerto, Captain Albert Pfeiffer, Kit Carson's aide, reported: "They were enabled to jump about on the ledges like moun tain cats, halloing at me, swearing and cursing and threaten ing vengeance on my command in every variety of Spanish. A couple of shots . . . gave me a safe passage through this celebrated Gibraltar of Navajodom" (page 721). and many weeds. "The padres had green hands," Mexicans say; all they planted grew. Lately, old adobe bricks, made of straw and mud, taken from Spanish-built houses and walls and soaked in water, have been ana lyzed as a source of news as to plant introduction. In them seeds and stems are well preserved. Eventually the Spaniards suc ceeded in bringing us their whole system of farming and stock raising. At first, when the conquerors came, there was a struggle to see if the priest might baptize the Indian before the Indian killed the priest. Once they had converted him, the Spaniards were first, by many gen erations, to try to civilize and de velop the Indian as a skilled worker and farmer. HORSES AND CATTLE FROM SPAIN PROFOUNDLY AFFECTED WAYS OF LIFE Spain shaped the Southwest's destiny for centuries when she in troduced cattle and horses. Consider first the horse. It speeded up the Indian's economy and changed the whole course of the white man's history. It did to America, then, what the motorcar has done to us in the last 30 years. Among Indians the horse affected not only tribal organizations and social habits, but it increased a tribe's operating radius, incited predatory war, and enabled the bucks to hunt over new, faraway ranges. Long ago historians coined the phrase "Horse Culture" to de scribe this new life that Spanish horses brought to the Plains In dians. On horseback one tribe's culture was easily carried to another. Horse stealing, too, became a regu lar business-and so did raids on once-too-distant enemies. Coman ches, when they got horses, raided as far south as Durango. In Texas' Big Bend they still show you old trails worn by Comanche raiders. They always came south in September, so to this day west Texas people call their September moon the "Comanche moon."